Sunteți pe pagina 1din 124

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

University of Toronto

http://www.archive.org/details/howtomastervioliOObyto

Sp&tratf to

Atttott MxUk

M;

3W TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR

STUDENTS AND TEACHERS

BY

PAVEL L. BYTOVETZSKI

$1.25

4977S0

X^. 3. 43

BOSTON

OLIVER DITSON COMPANY

NEW YORK

CHICAGO

CHAS. H. DITSON & CO. LYON & HEALY

MADE IN U. S. A.

Copyright, MCMXVII

Bt Ouver Ditson Company

International Copyright Secured

3. 6>2

e €2

CONTENTS

Chapter I

THE LEFT HAND

-^

Specific Rules for Holding the Violin Common Faults of Left Hand

Attitude Don'ts

1

Chapter II

HOW TO SUPPORT THE VIOLIN WHEN SHIFTING

Rule for Supporting the Violin Adaptation to the INDI\^DUAL

Chapter III

SHIFTING AND GLIDING

The Distinction Between the Shift and the Glide Rules for Shifting and Gliding

12

17

Chapter IV

THE ACTION OF THE FINGERS

Rule for the Release of Stoppings Benefits of a Full L'nderstanding of this Rule Five Essentials

Chapter V

SCHOOLS OF BOWINGS

The German and French Schools The Belgian School

Chapter VI

33

44

HOLDING AND DRAWING OF THE BOW

Rules for Holding and DuA-mNo the Bow

48

Chapter VII

COMPREHENSIVE VIEW OF BOWINGS

The Legato, Staccato, Springing Strokes Hand Stroke Fore-Arm

Stroke L'pper-Arm Stroke Full Stroke Rubles for Practicing the Various Bowings

56

Chapter VIII

AIDS TO TRUE INTONATION

Regarding the Ear Sense of True Pitch Study of Intervals

Chapter IX

THE VIBRATO

71

W'hen to Begin and How to Practice the Vibrato Degree of Vibrato

Needful Cautions

77

Chapter X

THE ART OF PRACTICING

Choice of Practice Material Sight Reading Practice of Daily Technics,

Studies and Pieces Order and Amount of the Daily Practice

Chapter XI

TONE PRODUCTION

'he General Characteristic of all Good Tone Interpretation

Chapter XII

82

89

THE PRECISE FUNCTION OF THE KREUTZER ETUDES

"iEneral Discussion

96

Appendix

LISTS OF CLASSIFIED MATERIAL FOR SPECIFIC TECHNICAL USES

PREFACE

ylii

The teachings in this book are concentrated upon one main

purpose : that of presenting definitely the most direct paths

to those acquirements coveted by every earnest student of the

vioHn.

The guidance here afforded consists of explanations, specific

rules, musical examples and numerous photograpliic illustra-

tions. Thus the daily needs of the student, and of the more ad-

vanced player as well, are taken up in a series of independent

chapters, each dealing with one important department of

violin technic and providing means for conquering the difficul-

ties usually met in that department.

Great care has been taken to make all statements as clear as

possible for the average student. The less experienced player

will find stated here the fundamentals which he needs; and

the more proficient violinist will not resent the presence of

this groundwork beneath the more advanced stages of advice

offered for his profit. The photographic illustrations will reinforce the instructions

given, by affording visible standards and models by which the

player may criticise his own attitudes and habits of action.

Good violin playing is by no means a recent invention

but the methods of

it has been, and is, good the world over:

attaining this end admit of constant improvements. A new

treatise like this one should justify its existence by bringing

forward such betterments in instructive procedure as experi-

ence has brought to Hght. This book will not be found lacking

in this direction: the many restatements of accepted prin-

ciples, and the provision of new means herein offered for ac-

complishing desirable results have all undergone thorough

tests and their effectualness has been proved.

HOW TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

CHAPTER I

The Left Hand

It easily happens, even with well-instructed violin students,

/,

that they have at no time considered in complete survey, the rules governing the best manner of holding the instrument.

The directions on this point, given at the first lessons, are likely

to have been combined with much else that is new to the pupil

and only fragmentarily recurred to afterward. The teacher may, indeed, have done his part within the limits set by weekly

lessons; but that every student has fixed in his mind a clear

and definite statement of tliis whole matter, may well be

doubted.

The more advanced student, therefore, as well as the novice, will find benefit and technical strengthening in reviewing, as a

whole, the details of the most thoroughly favorable manner of

holding the violin.

His more mature self-criticism on these

\ points will bring valuable results.

This particular subject is one upon which the best traditions

agree, so that the advantage sought in this presentation of it

is solely the desirable one of clear and unmistakable statement,

including also the further gain of completeness, freed from

lengthiness or vagueness by the numerous photographic illus-

2

HOW TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

trations: the latter take the place (and more effectively) of

elaborate descriptions.

The student of this book must not content himself with a

theoretical understanding of the rules, but should make full

use of the safeguard afforded by the illustrations; for the stu-

dent, unaided, is seldom able to divide his attention equally

between:

(1) the comprehension of details new to him;

(2) the execution of the directions;

(3 ) self-criticism as to whether or not he is following

the instructions accurately. The slight unconscious variation which the action

often undergoes at the hands of the pupil is most likely to be the very thing which prevents the carry- ing out successfully of the action as a whole.

In order to profit to the utmost by the photographic illustra-

tions, remarks and rules, throughout the book, faithful adlier-

ence to the following directions is advised:

Directions

The pupil should scrutinize each photographic illus-

tration in all its details ; study the precise meaning of

the rules and remarks; compare observantly his own

position, and stages of action, as reported by a mirror;

stand at such an angle to the > mirror that the re-

flection, as he sees it, will correspond to the illus-

tration.

In comparing the individual hand \^th the illustrations, it

should be remembered that although hands vary in their pro-

THE LEFT HAND

3

portions, the principles governing attitude are alike for all;

only the appearance changes slightly.

Considering now the illustrations relating to the left hand:

in the case of a large hand the fingers and thumb will appear

a little higher above the finger-board, and the space between

the forefinger and thumb deeper; in the case of a small hand

the general appearance will be the reverse in these respects.

The illustrations show a hand of medium size.

The Correct Attitude of The Left Hand

Illustration 1

Illustration 1 shows the correct manner of holding the violin in the

first position as observed from in front of the player. Note how the

hand is curved in order to place the fingers in a parallel line with

Note, also, the vertical attitude of the end joint

the finger-board.

of each finger.

HOW TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

Illustration 2

Illustration 2 shows the correct manner of holding the violin in

the first position as observed from in back of the player. Note the

position and the free, flexible attitude of the thumb and fingers.

Illustration 3

Illustration 3 shows the correct manner of holding the violin in the

first position as observed when facing the player.

curve of the arm.

Notice the inward

_

Notice also, in Illustrations 1, 2 and 3, the tilting of the instrument, t

THE LEFT HaND\

5

General Rule for Holding the Violin

In order that the left hand in general may acquire strength,

agility and freedom of action, it is of the utmost importance

that the fingers, thumb and arm assume such a comfortable

attitude (i. e. correct position) when holding the violin, as will

leave each of these free to adapt itself to the others, and enable

all to work harmoniously as one whole. The following rules,

therefore, with the aid of Illustrations 1, 2 and 3, will, if care-

fully observed, bring about the desired result.

RULES FOR HOLDING THE VIOLIN

I. Place the neck of the violin between the thumb

and forefinger of the left hand, so that the left side

the thumb at the

of the violin's neck will touch

first joint, and the right side of the violin's neck will

touch the palm at the knuckle of the forefinger.

There will thus appear an empty space between the

under part of the violin's neck and the flesh in the

hollow between the thumb and forefinger.

This is

necessary in order to avoid the following two impedi-

ments: first, if the neck of the violin descended so as

to touch the flesh at this point, the fingers held in

their vertical attitude would be too far removed from

the strings: second, the hand would lose much of its freedom in shifting, through the slight adhesion of

the skin to the neck of the violin.

II. Let the thumb lean backward as shown in Illus-

tration 2 ; it will thus always be ready for a shift to a

higher position.

In the latter case especially,

its

location is nearer the nut

than that of the first

finger. Furthermore, that position for the thumb is

HOW TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

the most convenient and natural. It leaves the fingers

and avoids all stiffness and the

free for action,

cramped feeling which any other attitude of the

thumb is sure to cause.

III. The right side of the violin's neck should be held by the palm (at the knuckle) at such a distance from the nut that when the first finger descends

upon the string it will fall at a distance of a whole-

tone from the open string. The half-tone from the

open string should be reached by extending the finger

backward; otherwise, extension will be all in one di-

rection, instead of taking place from a center; up-

ward for sharps and downward for flats.

IV. Place the fingers in a parallel line with the finger-

board, as shown in Illustrations 1, 2 and 3; thus the

fingers will always be ready to descend upon the

strings.

V.

Raise the fingers in a straight upward line so

that they will always remain over their respective

places.

VI. Curve the arm well inward so that the fingers

will reach the lower strings and the hand will not be

hindered, in shifting, by

strument.

striking against the in-

This set of rules, like those in other chapters, will sooner be-

come a part of the player's daily custom if each rule is taken up separately for study and careful observation, and the mirror

frequently consulted. Each detail will thus establish itself, and the carrying out of the rules simultaneously will be entirely

within the bounds of possibility for any conscientious student.

V

THE LEFT HAND

7

Common Faults of Left-hand Attitude

Illustrations 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, show common faults of posi-

tion, which are easily acquired by careless pupils.

Illustration -t

The fault represented by Illustration 4 is that the wrist is in the

third position while the fingers are in the first position.

Illustration 5

The fault represented by Illustration 5 is that the fingers are curved

at a right angle to the finger-board.

HOW TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

Illustration 6

The fault represented by Illustration 6 is that the wrist is curved

backward to an exaggerated degree.

Illustration 7

The fault represented by Illustration 7 is that the little finger is

allowed to descend below the finger-board.

THE LEFT HAND

Illustration 8

The fault represented by Illustration 8 is that the thumb is in a higher position than the rest of the hand.

Illustration 9

The fault represented by Illustration 9 is that the arm is curved

outward, instead of inward.

10

now TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

DON'TS

With Relation to Holding the Violin

I.

Don't hold your hand as shown in Illustration

4, as the fingers are thus thrown backward and cannot

reach their proper places on the strings; this causes

false intonation, and also, the hand to strike against

the violin when shifting in the upward direction.

II. Don't hold your hand as shown in Illustration 5

such a position of the fingers, withdrawn sidewise

from the strings, would occasion unnecessary move-

ment, effort and delay in bringing the 2nd, 3rd and

4th fingers to their playing position.

j

III. Don't hold your hand as shown in Illustration 6,1

for the hand will then be cramped, finger action stiff I

and the downward reach (to flats) very difficult.

Compare this illustration with No. 1, which is the

correct one.

IV. Don't grip the violin too tightly, for this will

cause stiffness of the hand and tire it quickly.

It will

also make shifting difficult, as in that case even the

light grasp must be abandoned and reliance for sup-

port placed wholly upon

the jaw and

shoulder.

This will be dealt with more completely in Chapter II

("How to Support the Violin when Shifting").

V. Don't let your little finger descend below the

finger-board as shown in Illustration 7. the fourth finger in that attitude is never in readiness to fall

on the strings (for it has to be raised first).

Fur-

thermore, this attitude of the little finger greatly

hampers the work of the other fingers and lessens

their agility.

VI. Don't let your thumb assume a higher position

than the hand.

In Illustration 8 the thumb is in the

f

THE LEFT HAND

11

second position while the hand and fingers are in the

first position.

The place for the thumb should be a

little lower than that of the first finger, as shown in

Illustration 2, because it must always be ready for a change to a higher position, in which case it must

necessarily descend. Furthermore, with the thumb

in the position shown in Illustration 8, agility of the

fingers is hindered.

VII. Don't curve your arm in the wrong direction,

that is to say outward, as shown in Illustration 9.

For this will make the reach to the lower strings al-

most impossible, and will also bring about this harm-

ful result: when a shift is made to a higher position,

the hand comes in contact with the side of the vio-

lin before arriving at its destination, thus causing a

break between the two tones. Compare this Illustra-

tion with No. 3.

CHAPTER II

How TO Support the Violin When Shifting

Many pupils, on reaching the stage of shifting, reahze for the first time that their method of supporting the violin is not completely practical for meeting this new problem. To retain

a firm hold on the instrument, and yet leave the hand free, is

apparently a difficult requirement.

The student often gains the false impression that by placing

the vioHn on his clavicle (collar-bone) , the chin on the chin-rest,

and holding the end of the violin's neck with his left hand, the

firmness of the violin's position is once for all established. Some players, without detailed explanations from the teacher, attain freedom in shifting through persistent effort, but with-

out analyzing what they do in order to keep the violin firmly in

its place. But there are many pupils who never discover for

themselves any adaptation of action of which they have not

been told. To such a student, the above-mentioned theory of

supporting the violin leaves him insufficiently prepared for

making a right beginning of shifting.

He will press his chin

against the violin until pain is felt, but the instrument will

continue to slip from its place at every dowTiward shift.

This difficulty should not be looked upon as one calling for

resolute effort, but instead, as a needless obstacle which can be

wholly avoided by observing the rule shortly to be given. But

to show the purpose and advantage of that rule, reference will

12

HOW TO SUPPORT THE VIOLIN WHEN SHIFTING 13

first be made to a very common and faulty idea regarding the support of the vioHn, namely : that the instrument is held down by pressure of the jaw, and supported by the clavicle. This

theory of supporting the violin might answer if the player never had to depart from the first position, but as the comfort of

such a stationary location is denied the violinist, a truer, more

exact method must be outlined.

Furthermore, even while playing in the first position, the

pupil following the imperfect method referred to above is subject to two greatly hindering results: (1) the neck of

the violin is allowed

the violm is held

too tightly; and (2)

to drop to the bottom

of the space between the thumb-

and forefinger.

Either of these faults, or both in combination,

lead to the harmful result of causing the neck of the violin to

adhere to the loose fold of the skin. This deprives the hand of

the freedom absolutely requisite in shifting, and every time the hand shifts downward, the violin follows. A consequence of

the second fault is that the fingers are then too high from the

finger-board, and when kept in their vertical attitude, are un-

able to reach the strings. Omission by the teacher to explain fully the subject of sup- porting the instrument is often to be accounted for by the fact

that for him there is no longer a need for conscious, firm support

by atry means; but, for most pupils beginning the development

of shifting, the help of a definite method of support is necessary.

The Right Method. The following rule will be found a

remedy for all the difficulties described above:

Rule for Supporting the Violin

Place the violin on the left clavicle and the left side

of the chin on the chin-rest ; curve the left arm in-

14

HOW TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

ward all

the way from the shoulder, so that the

shoulder is brought into close contact with the violin in other words, the violin is only placed on the clavi-

cle; the real support comes from the shoulder.

To show more clearly the undesirability of allowing the pupil to form a partial or misleading impression in tliis matter, it is

only necessary to remind the reader that in order to leave the

hand at liberty to follow the arm in large "leaps" as easily as in

small shifts, and that the thumb should always be in its relative position to the hand, the player must be able to hold the violin

in its right position unsupported by the hand (see Illustration

10).

Illustration 10

I

The pupil, on trying to do this, will find that for this accom-

plishment, sufficient support at the shoulder is necessary.

HOW TO SUPPORT THE VIOLIN WHEN SHIFTING 15

Adaptation to the Individual.As necks and shoulders

var;^' in their proportions, each pupil must ascertain for khnself

the manner by which he can properly support the instrument.

Therefore, after placing the violin on the left clavicle, the left side of the chin on the chin-rest and curving the arm all the

way from the shoulder, inward, the pupil should then observe

in the mirror whether there is any space between the violin and

shoulder. If there is any space (as is the case in most instances)

and that so small that the shoulder can successfully be raised

to the vioHn (that is without assuming a distorted attitude) no additional precaution is necessary, if not, another means

must be looked for. Sometimes a handkerchief placed under the lapel of the coat will fill the space; otherwise a pad of suit-

able size should be used.

To take as examples four types of differently proportioned

necks and shoulders will make the above suggestions clearer

(1) a person with a short neck and square shoulders is at a

special advantage, for the space between his chin and shoulder

(2) a person with a

is about right for the violin to slip into;

long neck and square shoulders or (3) a short neck and sloping shoulders, may fill the empty space with a handkerchief, or

by slightly raising the shoulder, as mentioned before, especially when shifting and gliding, where the danger of the violin

slipping from its place is the greatest; sometimes it is more

advisable to use a pad. Of this, the student and his teacher are the best judges. It should be remembered that these two

types of necks and shoulders [2 and 3]

sideration, because in these cases the question arises "to use a

pad or not.^* " and the result of a wrong decision in this matter

is additional effort and soreness of the underside of the chin;

(4) to persons with long necks and sloping shoulders a pad is a

need the most con-

16

HOW TO MASTER THE VIOLIN

necessity. To most women students a pad is indispensable, as

they do not have the advantage of a coat with

shoulders.

padded

I

CHAPTER III

Shifting AND Gliding .

The terms "shift" and "ghde", as applied to vioHn playing,

are thought of and interpreted in action by many students as

though their meaning were identical, signifying nothing more

than carrying the hand or finger to another position.

There

are two seeming evidences to justify this opinion: first, the

same sign is used to indicate both the shift and

the glide,

namely, an arabic numeral placed over or under the note,

showing the finger to be used and therefore the position to which it is to be carried (a change of position is indirectly

shown, also, by the roman numeral frequently placed over or

under the staff to specify the string on which a note or passage

is to be played); second, in all theoretical works the words

"shift" and